Build Powerful Shoulders With Handstand Push-Ups | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for Our FREE Newsletter.

Build Powerful Shoulders With Handstand Push-Ups

May 26, 2011

Must See Strength Training Videos

Athletes in every sport can benefit from strong, powerful shoulders. However, many get stuck in a routine of using barbells or dumbbells to perform the same shoulder exercises, overlooking their most valuable asset—their bodies! Handstand Push-Ups require elite levels of athleticism, making them a choice exercise to include in your regimen.

Strength

Handstand Push-Ups build strength in the prime movers (chest, shoulders and triceps), improve balance, and condition the core. Although they are not advised for beginners, they can be modified to suit the needs of less experienced athletes. [See the end of this post for an adaptation that uses less bodyweight and that can be used as a progression tool for Handstand Push-Ups.]

Strength and conditioning coach Ragnar Danneskjold, a former member of the U.S. Army’s elite 75th Ranger Regiment, says that because you push 100 percent of your bodyweight, “the Handstand Push-Up makes far greater demands on the muscles than standard Push-Ups.” He notes that women can benefit from this exercise, since “developing shoulder strength is not dependent on gender or sheer size.”

Balance

Another major benefit involves balance. “The athleticism needed to hold your entire body upside down in perfect balance while performing the Handstand Push-Up is valuable in any sport,” says Danneskjold. Maintaining the upside down position might prove difficult for those who possess the strength necessary for the exercise but lack the balance. Using a wall as a spotter allows you to challenge yourself as much as possible without risking falling over.

Core Conditioning

Danneskjold observes that “the BOSU, balance boards and exercise balls are  popular because of their presumed benefits in core strength development.” However, he thinks they might be insufficient for experienced athletes who already possess well-developed cores. “Core strength developed by performing wall-supported and then free-standing Handstand Push-Ups far exceeds that produced by any current device or sport,” he says.

Increased gains in core strength also provide greater protection against injuries.

Few young athletes have the strength necessary to safely perform a Handstand Push-Up. The exercise requires the ability to push much more weight than most Shoulder Press exercises. But you can build up the strength you need with the Pike Push-Up.

Pike Push-Up

Pike Push-Up
Because your feet don't leave the ground, the Pike Push-Up develops strength in the shoulders without having to push your entire bodyweight. Starting in standard Push-Up position, walk your feet in a few steps, keeping them shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms and legs straight, forming a right angle with your body. Lower toward the ground, keeping your head between your arms, then push back up for one rep. As the Pike Push-Up becomes easier, progress to putting your feet on an elevated bench or stability ball to place more weight on your arms.

The Handstand Push-Up is a fantastic exercise for young athletes looking to build powerful shoulders, but safety should be your top priority. If you’re unsure whether you can do it, start with the Pike Push-Up and progress to the full Handstand Push-Up. Take the extra precaution of placing a pillow under your head when you begin elevated Pike Push-Ups and eventually Handstand Push-Ups. Be smart and you'll build more powerful shoulders over time.

Source:  Livestrong.com
Photo:  body-mind-strength.com; ronjones.org; exercise-ball-exercises.com

Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
Joe Baur
- Joe Baur is a certified personal trainer with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Miami University [Oxford, OH]. He became certified with the National...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

Do Your First Deadlift

There is nothing more primal than picking something heavy up off the ground. Everybody loves to pick up heavy things, and the ones that don't are...

The Total-Body, Crunch-Free Ab Workout

The Turkish Get-Up for Youth Athletes

Improve Your Strength for Track & Field Success

Demolish Your Delts With This Super Shoulder Training Strategy

Game Changer: Should You Be Using Machines or Free Weights?

The 12 Best RDL Variations

Why the Dead Bug Is Changing Core Training

Why One Bench Press Is Not Enough

4 Strength Exercises for Female Athletes

7 Strategies for Dealing With a Meathead in Your Gym

7 Exercises That Safely Build Shoulder Strength

Kettlebell Swing vs. Olympic Lifting: Which Is Better?

Female Athletes: Get Strong, Not Bulky, With These Workouts

Build Powerful Pecs With This Multi-Angle Chest Workout

Basketball In-Season Battle Rope Complexes, Part 1

10-Minute Ab Workout You Can Do Anywhere

Strengthen Your Core With Advanced Plate Push-Outs

Get a Ripped Core With 6 Advanced Dead Bug Variations

Developing Pre-Pull Tension for a Monster Deadlift

Off-Season Baseball Exercises for Your Shoulders

The 7 Best Slide Board Exercises

3D Triceps Workout: 3 Exercises for Huge Arms

3 Loading Schemes to Build Muscle Size

4 Easy Fixes for Your Bench Press Routine

Do Your First Pull-Up With This Simple Workout. Guaranteed.

Baseball Workout for Power Hitting

Get More Explosive With James Harden's Workout

Build Explosive Hips to Jump Higher

Develop a Bulletproof Core With Advanced Barbell Rollouts

The 14 Best Exercises From 2014

Get Tougher With Skylar Diggins' Bodyweight Workout

4 Ways to Get a Jacked Back

Medicine Ball Training for Hockey Players

3 Tips to Maximize Your Off-Season Baseball Training

The Hardest Plank of All Time

Improve Your Back Strength with the Inverted Row

Bilateral or Unilateral Exercises: Which Are Better?

5 Isolation Exercises Your Workout Is Missing

5 More Exercises Only Elite Athletes Can Conquer

Why Do So Many Exercises Have Foreign Names

The 4 Rules of Bulking Up

How to Train During Your Hockey Season

The Upper-Body Endurance Combo Workout

Female Athletes: 4 Ways to Test if Your Knees Are Durable

James Harrison's Physioball Side-to-Side Bridge